Re: Goo prophylaxis

Hal Finney (
Wed, 27 Aug 1997 13:54:06 -0700

Mark Grant writes:
> Nicholas seems to be on the side of the Borg, whereas
> personally I'm for the Armadillos; I can think of few things worse
> than being the only entity in the universe.

This wasn't my take on Nicholas' scenario. Everyone lives in VR, and
nobody is allowed out into the physical world. So life would indeed have
some limitations. But this is far from a Borg collective. The individual
lives of people within the VR could be as diverse and varied as under any
such scenario.

In fact we have often supposed that people would voluntarily move into
VR once it developed to the point where it was advantageous. In VR you
could have magical powers over your environment, making objects appear
and disappear at will. You could have the most sumptuous possible living
arrangments, culinary delights, every sensual pleasure imaginable. You
could possibly even adjust and manipulate your own mentality directly.

Plus, you can probably run a lot faster in VR than in the real world,
so to the extent that there is an economy based on producing new ideas,
VR inhabitants are going to be much more competitive.

Actually, Nicholas' scenario could be adjusted to allow people to "go
native" and live out in the real world, as long as they were restricted
from access to technology which could threaten the computers running the
VR where everybody lives. A few die-hard realists living on a south seas
island (who insist on walking on *real sand*, not the VR stuff that just
*seems* real) wouldn't bother anyone.

Still, Nicholas' idea can hardly be considered consistent with principles
of non-coercion, especially in the early days when people are rounded up to
be vaporized (and uploaded). Don't forget, a lot of people even on this
list have resisted the idea that uploading preserves their identity. So
any forced move to VR is going to be heavy on the "force" aspect.